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Poetry Analysis: Sandpiper

Elizabeth Bishop, one of the most renowned female poets of her time, wrote the poem “Sandpiper” to express the idea or searching and appreciating the value of the small particular things around us. At first reading, the poem might seem to be only talking about a particular bird most commonly classified as a sandpiper, but amidst the literal interpretation, it is revealed that the poem is all about searching for something. In this poem, the 17th and 20th line of the poem would be analyzed to further explain the literal and figurative meaning of the poem.

Although these passages appear to mean that the bird is simply looking for something on the shore, a closer look at the lines actually reveal that the sandpiper is the author herself who is searching for a certain purpose in life. Literal Meaning of Elizabeth Bishop’s Sandpiper “Sandpiper” can be interpreted first literally before one can understand the real meaning of the poem. One short line from the poem can provide a variety of messages that it wishes to convey. In Sandpiper, the 17th line of the poem, “looking for something, something, something” tells a clear image of what the purpose of the poem is.

It already reveals a side of the poem that wishes to show how the sandpiper is looking for something among the grains of sand. This is further emphasized in the succeeding line where the bird is described to be poor and obsessed. The repeating of the word “something” thrice shows that there is a certain desperation in the bird to find that something. It is desperate to find a valuable item or thing which seems to be just along the shore. The last line of the poetry says, “mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst” (line 20). This line describes the shore where the sandpiper is searching for something.

It gives a clear and obvious detail of what the shore looks like. Apparently, it is filled with grains of sand which are a mixture of “quartz grains, rose and amethyst” (line 20). This image gives the readers a clear picture that the sandpiper can see several types of grains and not just a particular one. The grains are not all the same, but they vary in colors, sizes, shapes and value. Symbolic Meaning of Elizabeth Bishop’s Sandpiper Symbolic interpretations can sometimes be numerous. It can differ depending on the reader’s point of view or ability to interpret the selected text.

In a figurative interpretation, “looking for something, something, something” (line 17) in Bishop’s “Sandpiper” can refer to the speaker’s journey of finding his or her way in life. They say life is journey; and all throughout the journey, most of us are looking for directions along the way. The speaker could relate to the sandpiper and could be looking for her own identity as she lives her life. This person might probably be searching for a purpose that is quite unclear. Like the rest of all human beings, we tend to find a purpose in everything that we do.

We want to see reasons behind our actions that could lead to the realization of our life’s purpose. “mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst. ” (line 20). This line can be symbolically viewed as the speaker’s vision of how hard and misleading life’s purpose can be. Along the way, one can find other valuable treasures such as the mixtures of quartz, rose, and amethyst which can hinder his or her search for purpose. These valuable items can symbolize wealth or other earthly things which can blind a person into believing that these things are what really matters—when in reality they do not.

Poetry Analysis: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways Introduction “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways” of Elizabeth Barrett Browning is considered to be one of the most romantic love poems in history. This poem also transmits numerous messages to the readers if given a closer look and in-depth analysis. The 10th and 14th line of the poem appear to mean that it is a poem about an endless and powerful love, it can also be interpreted as a declaration that despite the strongest love on earth, love is still much better after death—when it is eternal.

Literal Meaning of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways” The 10th line “In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith” of Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee? ” literally tells the speaker’s actual reminiscence of her past and childhood life. The speaker wishes to share that the love she is feeling is a product of her old sufferings and childhood beliefs. If one is familiar with Browning’s childhood, it is revealed that she did not have a very enjoyable childhood life because of her tyrannical father.

These experiences she had in the past caused her to feel all these emotions with such passion. “I shall but love thee better after death” (line 14) is one of the most self-explanatory passages in the poem. The speaker obviously loves the person deeply that she has already concluded that even after life, she would still love him. The difference is that she knows that she could love him more. Symbolic Meaning of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways” There are more symbolic meanings in Browning’s poem than literal interpretation.

Even if the poem seemed to convey that it should be taken literally, it gives out figurative messages due to the construction and structure of the poem such as the capitalized letters on some words such as “Grace” (line 4), “Right” (line 7), and “Praise” (line 8). Nonetheless, there are also symbolic interpretations that are rooted from the history of the author herself. “In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith” (line 10) figuratively refers to the idea that despite her past imperfections and childish hopes, she could love as deeply as a regular person can.

This line is the only passage that talks about the author’s past life. It is noticeable that most of the passages solely describe how much she loves the subject. This is the only line that gives out a personal hint from the life of the author. It primarily says that the depth of her love originated from her past experiences and beliefs no matter how good or bad they are. However, the main point of the poem actually only comes in at the end of the poem which constitutes the last line, “I shall but love thee better after death” (line 14).

All the other passages refer to descriptions that are presently happened or have happened but this last line talks about the future. It is the only line that talks about an indefinite event. Nonetheless, the last line gives the readers the realization that love after death is much better because it does not include the restrictions that mortal life brings. The speaker obviously believes that there is life after death and it is eternal; therefore, she believes that her love is better after death because she does not have physical limits and it would be endless.

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